A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with [Paul]. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”
The setting of this passage is Athens, which had been, hundreds of years before Paul’s arrival, the center of the world for art, philosophy, and literature. Athens was still a leading city for philosophy and university during Paul’s day. Epicureans believed that pursuing happiness was the greatest good and Stoics believed in self-sufficiency, independence, and the suppression of desire. The Areopagus was a council that governed religion and morals, and particularly the introduction of new religions or foreign gods, in Athens.
Imagine what it must have been like for Paul to preach about Jesus and the resurrection in Athens given its history, belief systems, and prominently displayed idols. Can you draw any comparisons to sharing the good news in the United States today?
What do you think seemed so “new” about Paul’s teaching?
Do you recall the first time you heard the good news about Jesus and the resurrection? Did it any of it sound strange to your ears? What parts?
How do you describe the good news about Jesus and the resurrection to others?
Father in heaven, make me bold, like Paul, in telling others about Jesus and the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation. Embolden me to speak about the resurrection and the availability of your grace to anyone who crosses my path whatever their circumstances. Forgive me for the times I have been timid and failed to take an opportunity you gave me to share. I pray, Lord, for the courage and words to explain why I believe the good news and that I can do so with patience and respect. I pray for opportunities to share your grace and love with my family, friends, and strangers.
Go A Little Deeper:
Review 1 Peter 3:15-22 for some direction on sharing your faith.